Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Situation Update 5
March 29, 2009 – 4 p.m.
WINTER STORM IMPACTING STATE
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has returned to Level One activation. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) staff has returned to regular hours while maintaining 24-hour contact with emergency managers in the affected areas through the duty officer.
The upper system that delivered blizzard conditions to parts of Oklahoma beginning Friday has exited the state. Temperatures today will generally be in the 60s statewide, except in snow areas where temperatures will be in the upper 40s to low 50s. A chance of thunderstorms exists in eastern Oklahoma for Monday and Wednesday. There is a chance for thunderstorms statewide next Saturday.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency continues for 50 Oklahoma counties affected by the storm, per executive order issued by Gov. Brad Henry on Friday. The executive order marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary. Additionally, the order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.
The counties are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Jackson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Major, Mayes, McClain, Noble, Nowata, Oklahoma, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Rogers, Seminole, Texas, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods and Woodward.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
Since Friday morning, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) has investigated 178 winter storm-related collisions. One was a vehicle-pedestrian fatality and 50 involved injury. A 19-year old Moore man died Friday night after he was struck by a passing vehicle when the car he was a passenger in was involved in a collision and he ran across the roadway. The collision occurred on I-40 westbound at US-81.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 223 people were treated at hospitals and other medical care facilities for injuries due to the storm. Except for one broken arm, all others were minor slips and falls.
EMSA reports in the Tulsa area medical crews responded to nearly 50 multiple vehicle crashes during a 24-hour period (10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. today). There were 15 injuries and none were life threatening. Response also included a handful of slips and falls, but conditions on roads and sidewalks have very rapidly improved today.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports a total of about 550 homes and business are without electric service due to the storm.
Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reports about 500 Northwestern Electric customers in Beaver, Woodward and Harper counties are without power. Additionally, about 50 Kay Electric customers in Kay and Grant counties are without service.
OG&E and AEP-PSO report no storm related power outages.
There are no shelters in operation at this time.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports that county health department staff continues to monitor the nursing home residents who were evacuated yesterday due to a roof collapse in Buffalo.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews are completing road-clearing operations in the northwest portion of the state and hope to have all highways open by late afternoon. Several additional ODOT crews from across Oklahoma arrived in the northwest part of the state Saturday afternoon and have been working around the clock to clear the snow-packed roads, following what has been deemed one of the worst snow storms in state history.
Loaders and graders have been used to clear unusually high snowfall amounts from the roadways. Under usual conditions, the snow can be pushed aside with plows.
Although officials are hopeful all roads will be cleared by later today, winds in the area are high, and crews will remain at least through tonight in the event blowing snow creates further problems on the roadways. However, increasing temperatures and sunshine are helping to melt the top layer of snow, thereby easing blowing snow issues.
For Oklahoma road conditions call 888-425-2385. For road conditions in other states: Arkansas 800-245-1672, Colorado 303-639-1111, Kansas 866-511-5368, Missouri 800-222-6400, New Mexico 800-432-4269 and Texas 800-452-9292
OEM has secured FEMA industrial-size generators which are available for shelters and to provide power to water treatment facilities in the event of electric service disruptions. Already state generators were pre-staged in the panhandle.
Custer County Emergency Managementreports the roof of a truck stop on I-40 collapsed due to heavy snow.
Guymon-Texas County Emergency Management reports a partial collapse of the roof at Tyrone Elementary School. Roads are open throughout the county. No injuries reported.
Harper County Emergency Managementreports the residents of the Buffalo nursing home where the roof collapsed Saturday remain at the Buffalo Hospital. Highways 183 and 412 have one lane open in each direction. All other roads are open.
Woodward-Woodward County Emergency Management reports due to the weight of the snow the cafeteria roof has also collapsed at Fort Supply School. On Saturday, the roof of the school’s gym collapsed. No injuries reported.